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ReForest London Newsletter
Westmount Lions Park II - Sept. 25, 2016
It was wonderful for Kaitlin and Brad to see 104 volunteers from London's faith groups come to Westmount Lions Park to plant 450 native trees and shrubs. What an impact these trees have already made! It was a perfect weekend weather-wise and we had a great time with all of you.
Special shout out to Karen Hughes for taking action to get trees in her local park!
The fourth annual interfaith tree planting was the group’s largest to date, and brought together 16 different faith organizations representing many faiths, including Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Wiccan.
Participating groups included:
· Al-Mahdi Islamic Community Centre
· Christ the King University Parish / King's University College
· Congregation Or Shalom
· Greening Sacred Spaces
· HSS Canada and Srishti Foundation
· Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario
· London Korean Antioch Church
· London Muslim Mosque
· Muslim Association of Canada
· St. James Westminster Anglican Church
· St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church
· St. Luke the Evangelist Anglican Church
· St. Peter's Cathedral
· Temple Israel Synagogue
· Trinity United Church Community Centre
Several of the participating faith group leaders had words to share about the importance of trees and caring for the earth in their faiths:
“Each year on the Sunday nearest to Oct 4th (the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi) our parish celebrates the beautiful creation of which we are all a part. And we recall the part that we are called to play as co-creators caring for and restoring the health of the earth. The Interfaith Tree Planting is a great opportunity to co-create hands-on.”
-- The Rev. Lyndon Hutchison-Hounsell Tssf, Rector (Parish Priest), St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church
“For the fourth consecutive year, we take part in the Annual Interfaith Tree Planting Event as stewards of God's Earth, the multi-faith nation, with the intent of fortifying the goodness of its local soil that nourishes and houses us. "The good land - its vegetation emerges by the permission of its Lord, but that which is bad - nothing emerges except sparsely with difficulty. Thus do We diversify the signs for a people who are grateful" [The Holy Quran 7:58]. In similitude, Abraham is that good land and our faiths are the vegetation that benefit the inhabitants of this land. As each of us plants a tree, we vow in the Name of God to be grateful and to plant in our fertile hearts a good character to benefit humanity.”
-- Dr. Salam Al-Attar, Board President at Al-Mahdi Islamic Community Centre.
“Trees not only feed the air we breathe, but feed our souls simply by being what they are: rooted deeply and reaching outward to God and each other.”
-- Rev. Nancy Adams, Priest in Charge, St. James Westminster Anglican Church
“In his encyclical “Our Common Home”, Pope Francis writes ‘God has written a precious book, ‘whose letters are the multitude of created things present in the universe’. The Canadian bishops rightly pointed out that no creature is excluded from this manifestation of God: ‘From panoramic vistas to the tiniest living form, nature is a constant source of wonder and awe. It is also a continuing revelation of the divine’. The bishops of Japan, for their part, made a thought-provoking observation: ‘To sense each creature singing the hymn of its existence is to live joyfully in God’s love and hope’.”
-- Annette Donovan Panchaud, Campus Minister, King’s University College/Christ the King University Parish
“Babylonian Talmud Taanit 23a tells us: ‘Once Honi was walking along the road when he saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked, ‘How long before it will bear fruit?’ The man answered, ‘seventy years.’ Honi asked, ‘Are you sure you will be here in seventy years to eat from its fruit? The man replied, ‘I found this world filled with carob trees. Just as my ancestors planted for me, so I will plant for my children.’”
-- Rabbi Debra Dressler, Temple Israel Synagogue
“The Pagan faith understands and experiences the earth to be our Mother whom we honour and treat with respect.”
-- Cat Hall-Oaker, Wiccan Leader at Trinity United Church Community Centre
“Our sacred writings begin in a garden and end in a city with gardens throughout. At a time when Mother Earth is straining under the weight of expanding cities and environmental degradation, planting trees together redeems our city and makes us partners with God, to help fulfill the Divine desire for a healthy, flourishing creation.“
-- Rev. Paul Browning, Christian Leader at Trinity United Church Community Centre
“Abraham Joshua Heschel, the great 20th-century rabbi and activist said that ‘there are three ways to relate ourselves to the world: we may exploit, we may enjoy it, we may accept it in awe.’ By planting trees today, we are accepting our world in awe and giving the gift of this awe to future generations.”
--Rabbi Catherine Clark, Congregation Or Shalom
This event was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of Canada (through the EcoAction and Inter-Action programs), the participating faith groups, and the City of London. All trees planted at this weekend’s event will be counted towards London’s Million Tree Challenge (www.milliontrees.ca).